Today: Tuesday, July 16, 2019
 
 

 

Background info: church attendance

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Paul in Hebrews 10:25

While some European churches are experiencing great individual success and growth, the general picture is not as encouraging as the Church might like. However, it’s important to draw a distinction between what's happening in the developed and developing worlds, and between church attendance and the number of people who share the Christian faith, particularly in light of the number of fresh expressions of church now springing up around the globe. The overall picture is one of many people who are keen to explore the Christian faith, but who have issues with traditional church.

The following reflects recent patterns in the UK:

On the minus side

  • Every week in Britain, 1,500 people leave the church (Stuart Murray in Post-Christendom, Authentic Media, 2004)
  • In the 1990s 1 million people left church in nine years
  • Between 1989 & 1998 in England, 1,867 churches opened and 2,757 churches closed—that’s a net loss of 890 churches (Church Planting; Past, Present & Future, Grove Books, 2003)
  • A Huddersfield survey in the late 1990s discovered that an astonishing 58% of adults claimed never to have been in church.” (George Lings in Out of Sight, Out of Nothing, 1999)
  • Tearfund's 2007 survey found that 66% of the population still have no connection with church
  • “Church buildings are becoming as alien as mosques or gurudwaras… we will no longer be able to assume we are in a ‘Christian society’ where most people are latent Christians and lapsed churchgoers." (Stuart Murray in Post-Christendom, Authentic Media, 2004)

On the plus side

  • A total of just over 1,000 churches were started in the UK between 1998 and 2006, an average of 3 per week. (Christian Research)
  • Many churches in England are in a healthier state now than seven years ago, according to Christian Research, commenting on their 2005 English Church Census in September 2006
  • In the seven years from 1998-2005 only ½ million people left UK churches, a much slower rate of decline, showing that churchgoing in England is beginning to pull out of the ‘nosedive' decline seen previously. (Christian Research)
  • 34% of UK churches are growing (compared with 21% in 1998) (Christian Reseach)
  • Tearfund's 2007 survey found that 3 million people in the UK would go to church, if only they were asked.
  • Globally, every day, around 70,000 people become Christians—half of them in China. In the last 30 years the number of Christians in Africa has increased from 120 million to 343 million, in Latin America from 261 to 470 million, and in Asia from 94 to 301 million. (FCW)

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